Enter Eternal Life NOW!
Jesus says, "I am telling you the truth: those who hear My words and believe in Him who sent Me have eternal life. They will not be judged, but have already passed from death to life"1. When we talk about the good news of Jesus, this is definitely good news that we can avoid being judged and move straight into eternal life. Some Christians are so locked into the idea of judgment day that this scripture is almost offensive. If a teaching of the Son of God conflicts with what you think or believe, change what you think or believe. Fortunately this is a repeated theme in Jesus' teachings. One of Jesus most well known statements is "God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life"2. Notice Jesus did not say that you have eternal life, if you survive judgment day. Jesus is not a deceiver who tells you, you have eternal life and then tricks you with other conditions. Jesus only condition is "everyone who believes in Him". Jesus did not say just to say you believe in Him. Believing in Jesus is a lifestyle that you cannot fake when dealing with God. If you say you "believe in Jesus" as most Christians say and then think or act like you do not believe, you are not fooling God. Jesus knows our thoughts and what is in our hearts3. One time Jesus stated, "If anyone obeys My teaching, he will never die"4 and the people misunderstood and thought Jesus was saying that our physical bodies would not die. Is it easier to understand "obeys My teaching" than "believes in Him"? The end result of not dying and going directly on in eternal life is the same. The exciting good news is that we can miss judgment and move right on into eternal life. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS? This is what Jesus teaches and asks.
As we discuss how believing in Jesus can enable you to enter eternal life NOW, the question may be how strong does your believing in Jesus or faith need to be? Do you have to have faith that can move a "mountain" or the "faith" necessary to walk on water7? If this were the level of believing required, it would appear very difficult. Fortunately we have a beautiful example of the result of believing in Jesus. Remember the story of the two criminals hanging on crosses next to Jesus when He was crucified. One criminal made fun of Jesus and the other criminal showed that he believed in Jesus by suggesting the first criminal should "fear God" and then asserting Jesus' innocence. Then he demonstrated more belief by asking Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into His "kingdom". Jesus response was "today you will be with Me in paradise"8. Being with Jesus after our body dies is wonderful. The criminal's demonstration of belief in God by telling the other one to "fear God" and by defending Jesus and wanting to be remembered by Jesus is not faith or belief that appears difficult to have.
Even though Jesus' teachings are very clear about the results of obeying Jesus or believing in Him, most people who call themselves Christians believe otherwise and daily millions more are being taught in Christian settings and Bible schools to believe different than what Jesus teaches. One time in frustration, I complained to God about this. He then reminded me how one time Elijah thought He was the only one following God correctly until God told him there are "seven thousand" others6. Then God told me "don't worry, keep on sharing the truth. When the time is right, many will recognize the truth". For those of you who are reading this teaching of Jesus and still are uncertain, there is one more statement Jesus tells a close friend named Martha in a statement frequently included in funeral services, "He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" DO YOU BELIEVE THIS? If you can answer yes you are one step closer to living forever. Yes, some will go to be judged and then move on to eternal life or eternal death. But, follower of Jesus, a believer who obeys Jesus can enter eternal life NOW and not have to face judgment. At some point in your relationship with God and Jesus you may feel comfortable that the death of your physical body will be just an event in your eternal life. Some may even welcome the opportunity to move on to the next phase of their eternal life. This can be a very humbling experience as you continue to live with your imperfections. In appreciation, you may find yourself trying harder to live like God wants you to live. You may want to consider thanking Jesus daily for giving you "eternal life". 5 You may know Christians who refuse to believe that you can enter eternal life now. Don't push it. They may know that they prefer manmade teachings to what Jesus' teaches or they may know that personally they are not living in obedience to Jesus. Just tell the truth and enjoy being in eternal life.
"God help us to have the courage to put aside all manmade religious teachings and follow Your son Jesus' teachings. Help us to live in such a way that even though our body dies we will continue to live with You in eternity. Thank you for helping us, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Jn 5:24 (GN)
2. Jn 3:16 (GN)
3. Mt 9:4
4. Jn 8:51 (IC)
5. Jn 11:25-26; 17:2 (NI)
6. 1 Ki 19:14-18
7. Mt 17:20; 14:23-32
8. Lk 23:39-43
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Enter Eternal Life NOW!
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